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Seasonal Holiday Beers and Wines

holiday mealsYou’ve got a delicious turkey or ham, cranberry sauce, dressing, gravy, and your famous green bean casserole. All set for your holiday feast, right? Not quite. Before your guests gather around the table, make sure you haven’t neglected the vinos and brews. The following tips will help you make a selection that balances all the delicious flavors of your home-cooked meal.


The right wine can enhance the flavor of holiday cuisine. Unfortunately, the wrong one can overpower it. Avoid big Italian Barolos and California Cabs, which can steal the thunder from your main dish. Also, keep milder light whites such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc with appetizers, since they tend to pale against the stronger meat flavors.


A Juicy, Smooth Red: The right red – without mouth-puckering tannins – will shine without dominating the flavor of your main dish. The movie “Sideways” put Merlots in the doghouse; however, thanks to cool evenings, Washington’s Columbia Valley now produces a balanced wine that’s much different from California’s clunky Merlots. With light tannins and cherry aromas, these reds go perfectly with turkey, ham, and a wide array of holiday sides.

  • Columbia Crest, Grand Estates Merlot
  • Snoqualmie, Merlot

A Weighty yet Soft White: To stand up against the flavor of roasted turkey and rich pan gravy, you need a heftier white with a hint of oak and fruit. While Chilean Chardonnays don’t typically sell as well as their California cousins, that trend is starting to change. With layers of lemon, pear, and apple, these wines are a superior choice over expensive white Burgundies.

  • Viña Cono Sur, Chardonnay
  • Veramonte, Reserva Chardonnay

A Rich, Crisp Winter Lager: Non-wine-drinkers need an ideal beer to complement the full range of holiday-dinner flavors. The toasty caramelized essence of the following brews makes them a tasty asset for even the most robust holiday meal.

  • Magic Hat, Howl
  • Samuel Adams, Winter Lager
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